I went today to buy vanilla beans and some almond extract. Ended up buying vanilla extract as well. Their prices are not really more than the upper end stores and I liked that I could buy vanilla extract in larger quantity at cheaper prices (cheaper than smaller sizes). The alcohol content is also clearly marked in the extract. Nice spot, especially during the holidays. I prefer to dry and smash my own chiles, so I didn't check ther's out. Next time I am going to get a good look at the peppercorns.
I stopped in for the first time a couple weeks ago. Very nice, spacious store. Helpful, unobtrusive salespeople. I had only heard of Penzey's through Cook's Illustrated, never bought anything, and was prepared for much higher prices. Like others have said they really are quite reasonable if you opt not to pay for the glass containers.
Probably the most dangerous area for me was the back: cocoa, vanilla, and all manner of cinnamons. I was so happy to find Dutched cocoa much cheaper than Droste. I think this is a great addition to Atlanta.
Thank you for the heads up about Atlanta's Penzeys. I had been going many miles out of the way to the one in Birmingham.
My spring Penzey's buy happened to be in Los Angeles and it was as delightful as the ones in the DC area, near Hartford CT and the Bammer one.
I do have an alternative to buying their glass jars: the glass bottles that Starbucks coffees come in are a good substitute for the large Penzey's glass jars.
If you go to their website
& sign on to get their paper catalogs, you might enjoy the coupons on the front cover of each one.
A decade+ ago we lived 20 minutes from a Penzeys... after moving we began to mail-order twice a year, or when we traveled we'd find a nearby store. Every one we've been to has been first class all the way: great selection, great prices, & best of all great fresh spices & herbs.
I loved it! It is a huge space for the amount f product they have, but generally it's fantastic. They have open containers of everything, so you can smell before you buy. And recipe cards too.
A note on cost - if you buy in plastic containers or bags, it's much more reasonable than buying the glass jars.
are you familiar with the catalogue or website? If not, Penzey's sells a variety of individual spices and spice blends, including many salt free blends, salad dressing mixes, soup bases. If you buy in larger quantities, the cost per oz drops significantly, which is great for spices I use frequently, like dehydrated onion and smoked paprika, or you can split the quantity (and price) with a friend.